The banking industry is hoping it can beat back new financial regulations the same way the health insurers torpedoed Hillary-care in the early 90s.
A knowledgeable industry source confirmed yesterday that, as part of their efforts to roll back the Obama proposal for a consumer financial products regulator, several lobbying organisations representing banks are developing a “Harry and Louise”-style ad campaign, after the commercials that targeted the Clinton healthcare plan in the early ’90s. The ads will emphasise the intrusiveness of the proposal–of the government “telling you what you can and can’t buy,” according to the source. The hope is to run them sometime in July, when House Financial Services chairman Barney Frank plans to move the measure through his committee.
God, this is going to fail. Wildly.
The landscape has totally changed. Even just considering the way he media’s changed, there’s no way an industry lobby could suck up all the air in a debate by running an ad on TV. Anything they put out will get sliced and diced on MSNBC, CNN and of course all the blogs, with constant reminders that this disingenuous ad is being brought to you buy the people who have taken trillions of dollars.
And that’s the real problem. The healthcare industry wasn’t hated then the way it is hated now, so they could get away with Harry & Louise. But if America had just gone through, collectively, a gigantic claims battle to get a hospital stay paid for — a battle that nearly put us into bankruptcy — those ads wouldn’t have done jack.
And that’s the situation the banking industry is in today.
So rather than fight, we say co-opt! It’s so obvious, guys. Announce your support for the financial products regulator along with some industry “statement of principles” about transparency and fairness and all that jazz. Even if the bureau gets a whip cracker early on, within a few years it will be totally captured by you to the detriment of new upstarts that can’t easily comply with the regulations. Problem solved.
Anyway, here’s Harry & Louise:
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